The San Francisco 49ers are halfway through their schedule, and unfortunately have lost defensive lineman Solomon Thomas for a week or two. He suffered a mild MCL sprain, and has been ruled out for Week 9. My guess is he sits out Week 10 as well, and is back after the Week 11 bye.
That being said, he is getting some midseason recognition for his first eight games worth of work. Mel Kiper released his midseason All-Rookie team, and Thomas joined Carl Lawson as the defensive ends. Dalvin Tomlinson and Nazir Jones were the two defensive tackles. Here’s what Kiper had to say about Thomas.
With Tank Carradine on injured reserve, Thomas has taken on a much bigger role, starting the past five games. But he hurt his knee last weekend and could miss some time. Thomas has two sacks and eight tackles for loss, and he has flashed the talent that made him the No. 3 overall pick. He played like a veteran at Stanford in 2016, causing disruptions in both the running and passing games. He's also big enough that he can move to tackle in passing situations and get after quarterbacks.
Thomas has had ups and downs all season long. Prior to last week, he led rookie defensive linemen in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. We see plenty of hustle from him, but he is still working on his skill-set. John Middlekauff wrote about his lack of a signature pass rush move, and that is an area that hopefully he can build on this coming offseason. He has shown a willingness to work with a host of great pass rushers, and that should only serve to benefit him.
As the 49ers head into the second half of the season, several rookies will have a chance to make a name for themselves and claim a spot on end of season all-rookie teams. If Thomas doesn’t miss more than a couple games, he could end up on those kinds of teams. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon has a serious chance now that he has moved into the starting lineup. If Reuben Foster can stay healthy, he easily could end up on these all-rookie teams. George Kittle is a bit more of a long-shot with the emergence of Evan Engram.